Armantium

Most enjoyable grinding mechanic?

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I've developed a grind mechanic that is very subtle, under layers of resource management and questing system, but I was wondering what is the considered consensus around this subject on these forums?

By grinding mechanic, I primarily mean the means of expanding the play time and for the player to not be constricted by story if he enjoys the gameplay. I think that would be most precise definition.

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Consensus? You make funny jokes.

You probably won't find a consensus about _anything_ on the internet, but especially about something like grinding. There are those who hate grinding in any form. There are those who are okay with some grinding, as long as it doesn't feel too, you know... _grindy_. Then there are those who can Mountain Dew-up, hunker down, and grind the absolute _shit_ out of things from sun-up to sun-down. And everything in between.

Personally, I can grind pretty determinedly if I feel the rewards are commensurate with the time spent grinding. Nailing the rewards just right, though, can be tricky, and I don't think there is any one-size-fits-all formula for it.

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Yes, flexibility was my primary concern when designing my own grinding mechanic; if a player enjoys the gameplay he can grind, but it is not necessary to finish the story, or the main mission.

Edited by Armantium

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1 hour ago, Armantium said:

By grinding mechanic, I primarily mean the means of expanding the play time and for the player to not be constricted by story if he enjoys the gameplay. I think that would be most precise definition.

I think most players won't see things that way. To most players "grinding" means "repetitive actions the game makes me have to do."

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XP bars are the most successful grinding mechanic.

The type I most like is resource grinding, it's also my most hatted if the developer only adds a item only to extend the grinding. Like how many RPGs have huge resource item list but only one character needs them to level.

The most fun grinding mechanic for me is the clue finding in Visual novels. Where often to fully solve the games you need to replay them to find all the missing parts.

 

In the end what makes grinding fun is the reward. If the reward wasn't worth the grind it will constantly upset players. Even games where grinding is worth the reward feels tiring when not balanced well.

33 minutes ago, Tom Sloper said:

To most players "grinding" means "repetitive actions the game makes me have to do.

This is absolutely true, even naming a fun mechanic "grinding" will turn it into a bad mechanic for players.

Grinding doesn't need to be repetitive, it just normally works out that way because of game loops. RPGs work by grinding monsters and to prevent it from being repetitive they change the way the monsters work.

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6 minutes ago, Scouting Ninja said:

The most fun grinding mechanic for me is the clue finding in Visual novels. Where often to fully solve the games you need to replay them to find all the missing parts.

This so reminds me of Inside, the most brilliant game I've ever played.

It has secret areas, aligned with the story, that completely changes the ending of the game. But you have to go through the game several times in order to find them.

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I think this is a big reason I've played so much of Borderlands 2- since the grind is sort of the fun part of the game.  I think grind can be ok, as long as it's made up of the fun parts of the game.  The action bits of Borderlands games is dynamic and fun enough that it doesn't feel like a grind.  The looting part makes it rewarding, and there's enough side-story-content that makes it feel pointed instead of just running around doing nothing of narrative value until you have more levels.  Take something like minecraft - to me, crafting is a horrible grindy kind of mechanic, but people love that game.  The old Pokemon games are 90% grind, but those were considered great games (I played through blue last summer and it still holds up).

I feel like the player can sort of intuitively tell when grind is added to pad play time in a game that doesn't otherwise have a lot of content- and that's what you'd want to avoid.  Grind as part of the central mechanic/loop, like in an rpg or something = not a problem, possibly even a good thing.  Grind as filler = not so good.

I've always looked at crafting mechanics this way - IMO crafting is just another grind.  If it's central to the game it can work, but adding it to a game that doesn't need it makes the game worse.  Crafting as a filler mechanic is a drag.

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38 minutes ago, trjh2k2 said:

I feel like the player can sort of intuitively tell when grind is added to pad play time in a game that doesn't otherwise have a lot of content- and that's what you'd want to avoid.  Grind as part of the central mechanic/loop, like in an rpg or something = not a problem, possibly even a good thing.  Grind as filler = not so good.

Exactly, that was my main grinding philosophy. Grinding has to be fully integrated into the game. However, games like FTL or Ironcast have a different kind of meta grind, meaning you get stronger over time outside of the current game you play.

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